Book Image

Mapping with ArcGIS Pro

By : Amy Rock, Ryan Malhoski
Book Image

Mapping with ArcGIS Pro

By: Amy Rock, Ryan Malhoski

Overview of this book

ArcGIS Pro is a geographic information system for working with maps and geographic information. This book will help you create visually stunning maps that increase the legibility of the stories being mapped and introduce visual and design concepts into a traditionally scientific, data-driven process. The book begins by outlining the steps of gathering data from authoritative sources and lays out the workflow of creating a great map. Once the plan is in place you will learn how to organize the Contents Pane in ArcGIS Pro and identify the steps involved in streamlining the production process. Then you will learn Cartographic Design techniques using ArcGIS Pro's feature set to organize the page structure and create a custom set of color swatches. You will be then exposed to the techniques required to ensure your data is clear and legible no matter the size or scale of your map. The later chapters will help you understand the various projection systems, trade-offs between them, and the proper applications of them to make sure your maps are accurate and visually appealing. Finally, you will be introduced to the ArcGIS Online ecosystem and how ArcGIS Pro can utilize it within the application. You will learn Smart Mapping, a new feature of ArcGIS Online that will help you to make maps that are visually stunning and useful. By the end of this book, you will feel more confident in making appropriate cartographic decisions.
Table of Contents (12 chapters)

Knowing your audience

While every mapmaker strives to make the most visually appealing map they can imagine, you have to remember that the purpose of a map is to convey data clearly to your audience. In my career, I have made maps for planners, engineers, rangers, hydrologists, lawyers, field crews, surveyors, elected officials, and the public, just to name a few. If I was working on one project that involved all of those groups, each map of that project would be different than the other. Finding out who the audience of a map is? should be one of your first objectives.

With this figured out, you have a clearer goal of what data you will need and how to show it. Don't be afraid to ask questions; a lot of times you can be pulled into a project in which you have no background. It is more appropriate to ask a lot of questions in the beginning, rather than in the middle or towards the end of a project.

I typically ask the following questions when I get pulled into a project:

  • Who is the audience of the map?
  • What are you trying to show?
  • Does any data already exist?
  • Will there be any analysis?
  • Will this be updated regularly to show progress/change?

With these questions answered, I can usually feel comfortable enough to start a project. This will help me form a guide on how to formulate a work plan to solve this mapping problem.

Clear expectations

Because mapping is becoming more accessible to people, there is a higher demand for it. People understand the power of showing data on a map, but may not understand the complexity of creating a great map. It is important to lay out realistic expectations when creating a map. It is really easy to put too much information into a map, which will only confuse the audience, and make the map look poor, as well. Not that it's impossible to have a lot of data in your map; it just takes a lot longer than most people expect and skills learned over many years of cartography experience.

A lot of people, myself included, can get excited about a project and want to immediately start working on it. Going out looking for any and all data or starting the design of the layout may be exciting, but this eagerness can cost you in the long run, as you will perform work that might not be used in the project. The beginning of a mapping project should move slowly at first, to mitigate unnecessary work.